Let’s Talk About The Streamys: For Your Consideration Campaigning

My how we’ve grown up! Nearly a year ago I sat down to blog about the inaugural Streamy awards. Back then people were upset over the idea that their show might be over looked for bigger named series. In retrospect, yeah, they were kind of right. Everyone had a solid guess as to who was going to win what that night*, and no, there weren’t any upsets by tiny shows who really benefited from the exposure of the show  (but that wasn’t really the point was it?) Somehow, this year feels different.

Certainly, this year is a new ball game, isn’t it? As Chris Albrecht reminded us there hasn’t been a behemoth released this year. There may be a few front-runners, but there’s no behemoth (Doctor Horrible, Battlestar Gallatica) to contend with. The Guild is still going strong, as is The Legend of Neil, and the Bannen Way will probably fair pretty well, but overall it feels like there are more stronger, new shows out there than last year and the organizers have listened closely to our complaints. Maybe I’m wrong (and if so, remind me in the comments). But to me, it feels like it’s anyone’s game, and there are wealth of smart, devoted, cunning web series creators out there who want themselves a Streamy.

We’re already seeing For Your Consideration campaigns rolling out as creators take cues from old hollywood campaigns. Fall of Kaden and Blue Movies were the first to take their efforts offline, setting up a joint screening at CinespaceSafety Geeks, GOLD, Space Hospital, and Life with Kat & McKay all banded together to follow suit, setting up a similar event. The team from Compulsions (in my mind, a front-runner for the dramatic categories this year) stayed online, releasing detailed blogs with a hard sell for each of their contenders. Both strategies make bold statements about their shows. These are people who care about their shows and what the Streamy’s have to offer.

I count myself among them. Like our friends GOLD and Coma, Period,** we at Mountain Man will be sending out a screener package. I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say that it focuses on a few specific categories (the ones we excel at most), Best Art Direction, Special Effects, Sound Design, Cinematography and Music (but more on that later).

All this, and no one even knows who the new members of the IAWTV are yet.

Something tells me we’re going to be seeing a lot more campaigning in the coming weeks, and frankly, I can’t wait. We wont know who’s tactics were the most effective till much later, obviously, but it’s going to be a fun race. Something tells me there wont be any huge upsets due to a FYC campaign, but I do believe that these tactics will help in raising the profiles of their shows.

While it may feel like FYC campaigns are yet another step towards the hollywood-ization of new media, I think we should savor the moment. Right now there are tons of great shows, all worthy of being recognized by their peers. We may be wooing “the Academy” but it’s still with out-of-pocket funds, it’s still with DVD screeners we design, package and mail ourselves. We benefit from the advent of printing and distribution technologies just like we do from cheaper cameras and editing systems. What I’m saying is; we’re all playing for keeps, but it’s a game among friends. Let’s enjoy that for a bit longer. We’re all going to see friends up on stage April 11th, and the feeling of community accomplishment and pride isn’t going to be so immediate forever. These are still simple times, and our efforts are merely an extension of our efforts to spread shows and a medium that we love and are proud of.

But then again, I could be totally wrong. What do you think? Is this sort of campaigning necessary, helpful, regressive, worthless? Please, I’d love to know if you all think I’ve been wasting my weekends stamping envelopes.

*UPDATE* After the outpouring of comments and other blogs, I’ve written a response blog you should check out here.

____

*Except Lisa Kudrow. You guys remember right? She presented after Felicia won for best female lead, and boy did she look pissed. Maybe it’s just me.

** Twitpics courtesy of Brandon Martinez

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9 responses to “Let’s Talk About The Streamys: For Your Consideration Campaigning

  1. I don’t like the idea of sending out a screener package… I’ve worked way too hard just to put this stuff online, so I wouldn’t be able to take anymore! So I, personally, hope that my work online speaks for itself.

    One note, though, it’s EVIL that IAWTV members will have to watch videos with 30 second ads in front of them :P Grr…

    Good luck to you, Mr. Enlow!
    C.

  2. I appreciate your efforts Matt, but tend to agree with Casey. The difference between WebTV and all other award shows is that voters can watch our entire show, start to finish, online. So what would a screener contain that they couldn’t already see? But hey, if everyone else is sending online FYC’s, then packages arriving in the mailbox may get better notice. But like you said, no IAWTV name list, much less address list, has been published, and I haven’t heard any indication that one will be released before the awards. So we’ll see.
    Good luck everyone,
    Justin

  3. I do agree with Casey and Justin. FYC seems irrelevant when these shows are freely available anywhere in the country. With a film, FYC stuff seems relevant since you don’t necessarily have a way to watch it if it’s out of theaters, but not out on DVD yet. However, like Casey said, it was a lot of work getting it up online. It’s not really reasonable to me to have FYC stuff, unless it’s also content on your website.

    FYC online videos or mailed videos may be one thing, but so far, everyone is ignoring why physical screenings may not be something we want to promote for the Streamys. It’s all well and good to look at this trend when you’re from LA and say, good for them, they went out and did it. But what about all the shows that can’t do it? Shows like mine that are based in New Jersey have no such opportunity ahead of us. We’re not invited to such screenings because we can’t drop everything and head across the country to be there to present. at a screening. For a lot of us, it’ll be hard to get the funds to go for the awards if we’re nominated. To me, it IS just another step towards the Hollywoodization of new media. If this is promoted and encouraged, I strongly feel you’ll start seeing clear favoring of West Coast content over content from elsewhere in the country. This is a national (and even global) medium. We should be keeping this open and available to everyone. If we must have FYC campaigns, they should be on the web.

    I’ll get off my soapbox now. This is just something that has been bothering me for quite some time.

  4. Great article. It took a lot of soul searching before I decided to open my wallet and pay for the screening this Friday. Luckily others came on board to share the workload and cost of doing so and to be thats community. Thats what this was supposed to be about. Friendship and colleagues substituting for corporations and big entertainment biz that can do this stuff and is designed to do it well and often.
    We cannot compete with that as individuals it doesn’t matter how good your show is if its not really seen by the right people and not covered by anyone.

    We made a leap of faith thinking maybe 1 or 2 percent of the people who show will be IAWTV members and perhaps one might vote for us or tell a friend hey that show is pretty good take a look. We have to try something because its impossible to reach out to members like the TV or Film academies and have a screening of your film for them to consider that seems easier.

    The list of people who vote is like the Winchester Mystery Theater apparently which is a shame because any motivated producer like us should be able to pay to put on a courtesy screening they can choose to come. We must shout above the dim all trying to get attention if only for a moment especially if we thing we have a special show like Safety Geeks: SVI because if we dont we will be on the sidelines forever wondering…what if we had tried to get it noticed.

  5. Pingback: Casey McKinnon - Web TV should be judged on the web·

  6. Yes, it’s true: you can watch these shows in their entirely on the web. A DVD is not necessary. But that’s missing the point.

    The game is all about exposure. Viewers (including – no, ESPECIALLY – judges) have a million choices of what they can choose to watch. Anything you can do to make someone remember your show, make them think “Oooh, what’s THIS one about?” is going to reap rewards. If you can’t do that, if they’ve never heard of your show and have no reason to care, then you’re just going to be lost in the increasingly low signal-to-noise ratio.

    That’s why we chose to send out screeners. Not because we think the judges are too lazy or too stupid to realize that they could watch our show online, but because we realize many of them have never even HEARD of our show, and could use a gentle, nicely-designed reminder. So as long as we’re doing that, why not go the extra mile and give them a DVD with all the episodes so they can watch the show in front of their nice cozy TV, if they so choose. Letting people make those choices is the nice thing to do, and niceness can go a long way.

    We are going to see a widening gulf between professional and amateur shows in the web video world, and the Streamys. I don’t view this as good or bad, but rather a simple inevitability. I’ve picked my side of the line; there’s no sense in pulling any punches. Who dares wins.

  7. Sending out mailers does take the romance out of this New Media. After all, we are the small resilient force that is pioneering this “new media” and therefore should not rely on an old media form of promotion.

    Regarding the screeners to woo IAWTV members, they are really just a piece of the large pie of marketing your web series to the masses. A trophy doesn’t guarantee hits on your website which, in turn, doesn’t guarantee sponsor deals for your next project. It’s a fantastic accolade and resume builder, but there is so much more to do in web series marketing.

    For those who feel left out of pulling together funds for a screener, whether you are broke or on the East Coast, hope is not lost.

  8. REPOSTED FROM MY POST ON CASEY’S BLOG:

    First off please come to our screening Friday Feb 19th. We beg you. Well. Beg is strong. Implore? Urge? Yes. Urge. It’s just regular people trying to get seen. It might as well be in Iowa given how connected we are. This is not a Hollywood screening party, this is a party that happens to be screening at a place on Hollywood Blvd because it was the only affordable screen open for the next month.

    I am one of those broke web producers putting on the FYC screening Friday, Dave Beeler and I thought this time we should do something, anything rather than get quietly ignored again this year and we thought having a screening would help get some eyeballs on our work and perhaps get it acknowledged with nominations.

    The OPPOSITE thing I want to have happen is to have the fact that I spent my hard earned cash to screen Safety Geeks with the other friends series that night means it’s bizarrely held against us or hurts our shows chances at getting nominated for anything. That would stink. That’s upside down. I will not believe that would happen. Would it?

    I am proud of our show and of the shows we are screening with because each show was an act of will.

    If I streamed the show from a T1 line to the projector would that make it more legit?

    Do we not vote for a film if it’s seen on DVD instead of in a theater? Seeing it on the web no longer means “at a computer” anymore already and it’s blurring more and more. It’s the show not the delivery system. Is it any good? Does it do what it set out to do? With no other means of reaching out and competing with high profile web series what more can we do but try something like this? Screeners? Cant afford them and as stated before no idea who to send them to as the voting membership is apparently secret. :-) Are you who is reading this now one? Can direct you to our web site? No idea. As for taking upon ourselves to band together and do a little screening…

    Want to get criticized? Stand up and do something.

    Have you seen our show mrmattenlow?

    I have been at so many events where I am sure you were there but for whatever reason we haven’t been introduced or had a chance to talk. I hope we will at the screening Dave Beeler and I are hosting tomorrow. We want it to be a fun celebration of us…the little guys.

    We don’t have the chances and backing that the front runners have, maybe you’ll see a show that night and think it deserves a nod. I hope so, because we might not have been on the list you got of shows to look at online from the IAWTV.

    We don’t even know how to reach the group that is supposed to be judging us and that I am a member of myself. I would say that 50 to 60 percent of the websites I was directed to watch a show and pre-judge did not have a title sequence with character names and who played them nor did they have a cast and actor listing printed anywhere so literally, I had NO idea who the actress or actors were who were playing the role.

    I had a suggested actor name on a list and a show and page with no indication who that actor was or what character. because the show page didn’t tell me and the show didn’t either. At the screening we can at least put a few faces to roles, we put main characters with the actors face in the titles and maybe we will get some hard work acknowledged. I felt bad spending up to an hour poking around trying to see if there was a picture or something of an actress I thought was good to see what her name was or if I had a name who she played. I combed the site or googled to see who she might have been playing or what she looked like. That’s GOT to be hurting the nominations.

    Maybe that’s why “UNNAMED BIG TV ACTOR IN A WEB SERIES” might win, even without a title sequence or cast list they can win because we already know what they look like from TV and movies.

    But then, doesn’t that defeat discovery and encourage voting for the same ol people cause at least I know who played the character because they had years of studio’s PR working to make sure I knew who they were?

    It will be interesting will the winners this year be the ones that got a big venue airing? Name actors? Perhaps. Perhaps not. If they are any good, then yes they deserve to be nominated. And they are heard of.

    Great debate everyone. We’ve always been the little guys not getting noticed so its surreal that we are putting on something that any “little guys” object to. We are you. Funny world.

    Hope you have fun and at least give Safety Geeks, GOLD, Redemption, Life with Kat and McKay, and Space Hospital a chance to have their moment. This night might just be all there for us. At least, we tried something.

  9. Pingback: For Your Consideration: The Mountain Man Communique « Mrmattenlow.com·

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